How to Fish a Chatterbait (Bladed Swim Jigs) for Bass

Fishing for bass is an incredibly popular activity. Entire communities of people connect over a shared love of fishing for this specific fish, and as such certain tools have gained popularity among those who fish for bass.

One tool which is incredibly popular is the chatterbait. It gained its popularity during the late 2000s when Thrift and Hite used it to win multiple professional bass fishing championships and has remained a firm favorite in this community ever since. 

That being said, the hype surrounding the chatterbait has definitely subsided in the years since 2010, but they are still just as successful as they once were at catching bass.

But their design has changed a lot since the early versions and because of this, you might be nervous about using a chatterbait to fish. 

That’s why we’re here to help with this ultimate guide to how to fish a chatterbait for bass.

We are giving you all the information you could ever possibly need to know about using a chatterbait, the best times to use it, and the most successful methods that you should use to catch as much bass as possible. 

So if that seems like something you are interested in, let’s get started!

What is a Chatterbait?

Compared to some of the other tools that are commonly used in fishing, the chatterbait is a fairly recent development.

As we have already mentioned, it was a common tool used in fishing competitions during the 2000s and because of this, there was a lot of hype surrounding the tool. 

While the attraction has worn off significantly, the success of the chatterbait is no less, and it is still a great tool to have in your set if you want to catch a lot of bass.

In terms of appearance, the chatterbait looks very similar to the spinnerbait as it has both a jig head and a skirt to attract the fish. But it does differ slightly as the chatterbait has hinged metal attached to the jighead for vibration. 

So now that we know what a chatterbait is, let’s take a quick look at how they work. When the chatterbait is pulled through the water, the metal piece that is attached to the jig head will move and send vibrations.

These vibrations will travel through the water column of the chatterbait and make the skirts of the device wave back and forth repetitively in the water.

This frantic movement is attractive to the bass as they will notice both this and the vibrations almost immediately. 

Once the bass has noticed the vibrations, it is impossible for them to ignore the chatterbait and they will key in on it. But the key to using the chatterbait successfully is knowing the best and most appropriate times to use it.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the different times when you should use the chatterbait to get the most successful results and the best amount of bass possible. 

The Best Places to Fish a Chatterbait

Before we take a look at when and how to fish a chatterbait, let’s first take a look at where you should fish a chatterbait for the best results.

As you probably already know, chatterbaits are very versatile tools for fishing, but that doesn’t mean that they can be used in every water condition.

Chatterbaits struggle in areas that are built up with rocks as they tend to snag and get tangled in these conditions.

So it is best to avoid these areas, and instead, focus on areas where the chatterbait will excel. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the different areas where a chatterbait is known to perform excellently. 

Assuming that you are fishing a chatterbait during the prime fishing season of the year, the first place that you should consider using it is in the shallow to mid-depth grass.

Not only does the chatterbait excel in these areas, but it is also a great place to look for bass.

Despite chatterbaits struggling in rocky environments, they excel in long and thick grass and the grass actually aids the chatterbait in attracting bass.

The benefit of this type of environment is the fact that bass also like to use high grass to be able to ambush prey which increases the chance of the bass being attracted to the chatterbait when it is in high grass. 

Another great place to use the chatterbait is in shell beds. The best time to use your chatterbait in this environment is during the summer months as this is when bass tend to travel to these environments which would normally be home to mussels and other crustaceans.

Shell beds tend to be fairly shallow which allows you to easily drag the chatterbait across the bottom of the bed which will enhance the noise and vibrations that it produces.

While the chatterbait might not be your first choice for these environments, it is a great option if your attempts with other types of baits are unsuccessful.

Using a chatterbait in shell beds has proven successful in catching even the biggest bass in the school which is why it is such a great area to fish. 

You can also successfully use a chatterbait to fish in wood target areas. Using the chatterbait alongside stumps of wood encourages the bass to see the chatterbait and increases the chances of them going for it.

For this method to be successful you have to lure the chatterbait in and around the wood, it does take some practice but once you get the hang of it, it can be a highly successful way to use your chatterbait to catch bass. 

Finally, we would recommend using your chatterbait to fish for bass in the docks. A lot of people might not consider using their chatterbait when fishing in the docks, but it is actually an incredibly successful tool to use.

Especially when you use a chatterbait in the docks during the summer. During these months there will be lots of grass growing in the docks which the bass will love.

The best area in the docks to fish a chatterbait is directly under the docks as this is where the bass like to lurk when they are on the prowl for food. 

So now that we’ve looked at the best places to fish a chatterbait, let’s take a look at the best times of the year for your fishing experience to be successful. 

When to Fish a Chatterbait

Just like with any fishing tool that can be used to increase your chances of catching fish, there are times when using a chatterbait is more appropriate.

The first thing that you need to know is that chatterbait is most successful in catching bass when the fish are being active, and also when they are shallow in the water. 

Of course, some fishermen are incredibly successful and can use this tool to catch bass in all water types, but if you are less experienced we would recommend targeting the bass when they are shallow and active.

If you are new to this, another thing that is on your side is the fact that bass are a predictable type of fish.

They tend to move in the same patterns throughout the different seasons and because of this, fishing for them can be a lot easier if you plan it properly. 

Let’s first take a look at the best time to fish a chatterbait during the summer seasons.

During the summer months, a lot of grass tends to grow under the water which impacts the effectiveness of the chatterbait. Due to this, you have to be quite tactical in how you use the chatterbait.

Instead of casting your bait directly into the center of the water, where the grass is at its thickest, you should pull back and target the areas around the weeds to stop your chatterbait from getting tangled.

Targeting the outside areas of underwater grassland allows you to get all of the benefits from your chatterbait without the risk of it getting rundown in the weeds. 

But what about the winter months? Well during the fall, bass tends to lay low in the water as this is where their main sources of food also move to.

During this time, the grass that interferes with chatterbait fishing during the warmer months tends to die off and all that is left is the remnants of the weeds which were once alive.

In these dull surroundings, the attractive color of the chatterbait is incredibly enticing for the bass, increasing the chance of you getting a bite. 

Now that we’ve taken a look at when to fish a chatterbait in terms of seasonal months, let’s take a look at the best times to fish a chatterbait for bass in terms of spawning. 

The pre-spawning months tend to occur during the time that the water is starting to heat up.

During these times the bass will relocate to areas that are better suited for spawning young, areas which are conveniently known as “spawning flats”. Before spawning, the fish tend to eat more and so they are on the hunt for food more regularly.

Using a chatterbait can prove incredibly successful during this time, especially if you want to catch female bass.

Female bass tend to move up the water bed during the time immediately before spawning season, and as they are on the hunt for food, the chatterbait is excellent to use during this period. 

But what about during the spawning period? During this time, the chatterbait is not good to use for catching the bass. That being said, it is a great option for when you are trying to locate the bass.

The grass beds make it difficult to get a good catch of the fish, but if you want to be certain that the bass is in that area then using the chatterbait is a good idea. 

Finally, let’s take a look at whether the chatterbait is good to use in the post-spawning season. In short, the answer is yes.

During the time post-spawning, the larger female bass will be moving away from the thick grassland where they spent the spawning season.

In the time immediately after spawning, they will not move much and usually move small amounts before settling down again.

The areas immediately after thick grass tend to be shallow and provide minimal cover which makes this the perfect time to catch bass using your chatterbait as you can easily intercept them on their journey. 

With all of that information covered, let’s take a look at how to fish a chatterbait for bass. 

How to Fish a Chatterbait for Bass

While a chatterbait is just a single tool that can be used for fishing, there are lots of different methods that you can use to make your fishing more successful.

These different methods will take practice but once you have tackled them, they can all be used to help you successfully catch bass with your chatterbait. 

The first method you should try is shaking. The chatterbait is designed to release vibrations into the water to attract the bass, so shaking it will increase the speed of these vibrations. To shake the chatterbait, the skill all lies in your rod.

A successful shake of the chatterbait relies on you moving the rod up and down to retrieve. This method shakes the chatterbait and also gives the impression of it jumping up and down within the water.

The jumping of the chatterbait will give the appearance of prey traveling through the water, especially when it is used amongst tall but thin grass. The shaking method entices the bass and encourages them to take a bite which successfully allows you to catch them. 

Another method you should consider using is the burning method. Despite its name, this method does not consist of you lighting a fire to the chatterbait, it instead involves fast methods for you to be able to reel in some bass. This method involves casting off as normal, but it is the reeling in method that differs.

As soon as you feel a bite, you should begin to reel in the chatterbait quickly until you feel the blade waking under the surface.

Wave like patterns in the water will appear which entice the bass and significantly increases the chances of them biting. 

You can also use your chatterbait to fish in a method known as slow roll. This method is essentially the opposite of the burning method as it requires everything to be done slowly.

The slowness of this method means that the chatterbait does not move from the floor of the water which is great for when you are fishing for bass.

This method relies on you feeling the chatterbait travel across the floor of the water, thumping as it goes. The key to success in this method relies on you moving slowly so that the correct vibrations can be given off to attract the fish. 

The final method that we would recommend using with your chatterbait is a technique called ripping. This method is a great choice if you are struggling to get a bite from the bass with other methods simply because they are in a chilled mood.

Often bass will be uninterested in your chatterbait, but this method is a great way to get them interested.

To do this, you should begin reeling in the chatterbait slowly, and then quickly pull it free from the grassy areas underneath the water.

The sudden movement often makes the bass react and increases the chances of you getting a catch. 

How to Rig a Chatterbait

Finally, let’s take a quick look at how to rig a chatterbait. In most cases, rigging a chatterbait for use is incredibly simple so there is nothing to worry about.

The bladed swim jig of the chatterbait already comes pre-rigged with a skirt to attract the bass, but what else do you need to do to make it more attractive?

As well as the pre-rigged section of the chatterbait, you will need to add some other bits to the rig to add wait to the chatterbait.

You should add a soft plastic trailer to the chatterbait to increase the bulkiness of the design and ensure it continues to move slowly through the water.

As well as considering things you may add onto your chatterbait, you also need to consider the rod and reel of your fishing equipment. 

For fishing a chatterbait we would recommend using a medium action rod measuring between 6 foot 6 inches and 7 foot.

This is the perfect size to allow you to effortlessly control the chatterbait and use the different techniques that we have outlined above to catch bass. 

You also need to consider the line that you are using. The perfect line to match a rod of this size is the 6:3:1 bait caster as this will help increase your ability to control the rod and use it to be able to catch plenty of bass. 

Finally, you should consider the color of the chatterbait. There are lots of different color options available, all of which are better suited for fishing in different environments.

Black or blue chatterbait is incredibly common in bass fishing, but a lot of people also choose to use green chatterbait as they blend in well with the natural colors that exist under the water.

As well as these obvious color options, you can also get chatterbaits in red and even pearly colors which will be better for fishing in different water conditions. 


In short, this is a full guide to how to fish a chatterbait for bass.

We have given you all the information you possibly need to know about fishing a chatterbait including exactly what it is, how to use it, and also how to rig a chatterbait. 

We’ve even included extra information about the best places and times to fish a chatterbait so that you get the best possible chance of successfully catching plenty of bass.

So if you want to use a chatterbait to catch bass then you are in the perfect place. 

Andrew Marshall
Latest posts by Andrew Marshall (see all)